Marine Conservation Institute, recognizing the need for more and better ocean protection, is leading a major initiative to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. Launched in 2017, Blue Parks is an innovative strategy to incentivize decision makers to establish protected areas that safeguard marine life and promote opportunities for sustainable tourism. Learn more about the program at blueparks.org
Habitat types: Exposed sandy beaches cover the shore from the marker poles in Simonton Cove to Harris Point. Subtidal habitat off Simonton Cove is mostly sand with a few offshore reefs. From Harris Point to Bat Rock the shoreline is predominantly exposed rocky habitat with a few sandy coves; the rocky habitat once supported populations of black abalone. Subtidal habitat from Harris Point to Bat Rock is expansive rocky bottom, dominated by urchins, with a few high relief rocks and pinnacles. Giant kelp persists around Bat rock and inside of Harris Point.
The shoreline of Prince Island is rocky and exposed. The intertidal area descends quickly to rocky subtidal habitat, with persistent populations of giant kelp and surfgrass.
Surrounding habitat types: Habitats to the west include similar sand areas within the rest of Simonton Cove. Offshore a high relief rocky reef lies just to the west of the MPA. To the east habitats are primarily soft bottom farther offshore.
Summary of existing regulations: No take is allowed.
An exemption in the MPA, where commercial and recreational take of living marine resources is allowed, exists between the mean high tide line in Cuyler Harbor and a line between the following points:
34° 03.5' N. lat. 120° 21.3' W. long.;
34° 02.9' N. lat. 120° 20.2' W. long.
Special Regulations to protect marine mammals:
Boating is permitted at San Miguel Island except west of a line drawn between Judith Rock and Castle Rock where boats are prohibited closer than 300 yards from shore.
Boats may be anchored overnight only at Tyler Bight and Cuyler Harbor. Boats traveling within 300 yards of shoreline or anchorages shall operate with a minimum amount of noise and shall not exceed speeds of five miles per hour.
Landing is allowed on San Miguel Island by permit only at the designated landing beach in Cuyler Harbor. No person shall have access to all other offshore rocks and islands in the MPA.
Notwithstanding the 300-yard boating closure between Judith Rock and Castle Rock, the following shall apply:
Boats may approach San Miguel Island no nearer than 100 yards from shore during the period(s) from March 15 through April 30, and October 1 through December 15; and
Boats operated by commercial sea urchin boat operators who have been issued permits by the department to take sea urchins from the Point Bennett area of San Miguel Island may enter any waters of the 300-yard area between Judith Rock and Castle Rock for the purpose of fishing sea urchins during the period(s) March 15 through April 30, and October 1 through December 15.
The department may rescind permission for boats to enter waters within 300 yards between Judith Rock and Castle Rock upon finding that impairment to the island marine mammal resource is imminent. Immediately following such closure, the department will request the commission to hear, at its regularly scheduled meeting, presentation of documentation supporting the need for such closure.
Primary objectives: A state marine reserve by definition may achieve one or more of the following goals:
Protect or restore rare, threatened or endangered native plants, animals, or habitats in marine areas;
Protect or restore outstanding, representative, or imperiled marine species, communities, habitats, and ecosystems;
Protect or restore diverse marine gene pools;
Contribute to the understanding and management of marine resources and ecosystems by providing the opportunity for scientific research in outstanding, representative, or imperiled marine habitats or ecosystems.
Existing Enforcement: Included as part of normal Department of Fish and Game marine patrol activities for this general area based on available patrol resources and level of fishery activity in the area. Channel Islands MPAs have been given a high priority for enforcement. A new, 54 foot, patrol vessel and several smaller vessels have been dedicated to Island patrols. National Park island rangers are present on the island.
Basic Evaluation: This is a recently established marine protected area. Refer to above review of baseline and ongoing monitoring and research studies.